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Community Voices, October 2014

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This week Southwest Minnesota State University will be hosting a “Charting the Future Gallery Walk” to build awareness of Charting the Future activity; gather ideas, insights and responses from various stakeholder groups; and identify individuals who are interested in becoming involved in Charting the Future efforts.

Charting the Future is an initiative spanning all 31 colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system intended to enable fundamental change so that the system can meet the significant challenges facing all of higher education and continue to fulfill our three fundamental commitments:

  • Ensuring access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans;
  • Being the partner of choice to meet Minnesota’s workforce and community needs;
  • Delivering to students, employers, communities and taxpayers the highest value, most affordable higher education option.

The Gallery Walk at SMSU will be Thursday, October 30th from 1-4 pm in Bellows Commons located in the Bellows Academic Center. The Gallery Walk is an open house-style loosely structured engagement session for students, faculty, staff and community members to come learn and react to themes and concepts developed by Charting the Future implementation teams. Four teams made up of faculty, staff and students from across the system have been working together since last spring to identify strategies to improve service to students and communities across the state, strengthen the state’s public colleges and universities, and ensure our unique character and autonomy.

The Gallery Walk events being hosted across the state represent the first public debut of the concepts and themes being developed by the implementation teams and an opportunity for additional faculty, staff, student and community feedback.

Four implementation teams have been meeting since the spring and are ready to show their initial thoughts. They are Student Success, Diversity, Comprehensive Workplace Solutions, and System Incentives and Rewards. Four more implementation teams are convening, and the product of their work will be the subject of another series of Gallery Walks in the spring. They are Academic Planning and Collaboration, Competency Certification and Credit for Prior Learning, Education Technology, and Information Technology Systems Design.

This is both an exciting and challenging time for higher education in Minnesota and across the country. I would encourage you to take a few minutes this week and stop by the Gallery Walk to learn about what is happening, share your thoughts and opinions, and become engaged in the discussion. Southwest Minnesota State University is committed to serving the needs of our region and beyond and your opinions matter as we work to shape the future to meet the needs of our students and the communities that we serve.

Published in the Marshall Independent on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

To learn more about the MnSCU Charting the Future Initiative, visit To share your ideas, questions, concerns and stories, email: To join the dialogue use #ChartingTheFuture on social media.

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